In the continuing debate about Sheffield’s highway trees I think insufficient emphasis has been placed on the impact on climate change effects.
It’s important that we all recognise that trees matter.
Every tree matters and because vehicle fumes are concentrated alongside our highways that means that removing a highway tree really has to be the last resort and every effort should be made to retain them.
Sheffield’s leafy suburbs have consistently failed to meet the European air quality standards, (SCC Air Quality Monitoring of Nitrogen Dioxide, European Limit Value of 40 micrograms per metre cubed, mandatory since 2010), with Ecclesall, Abbeydale, Broomhill and Carterknowle areas all failing the ‘test’, many other areas aren’t monitored so we don’t know how bad it is there.
Sheffield as a whole is a polution blackspot - a World Health Organisation, (WHO), report of 2014 measuring Particulate Matter of 10 mircometres or less in diameter, (PM10), named Sheffield as one of nine urban areas in the UK that didn’t meet air quality standards in 2011 with only Thurrock and Nottingham having worse records!
I’m sure the council recognises this but really the council/Amey Streets Ahead project should take this onboard and insist that highway trees are retained everywhere possible to help ameliorate this problem.
Just last week it was widely reported that the Antarctic ice cap is melting quicker than expected and that sea levels may rise by double the expected 1 metre rise predicted by the United Nations climate change body reaching a 2 metre rise in height by 2100.
A World Bank/OECD analysis has estimated a resultant annual damage cost of £700 billion by 2050 due to global flooding.
Low lying cities would flood, populations would be forced to migrate.
Climate change will have an impact on Sheffield. 2050 is only just over 30 years away!
As a first step we should be making our countryside more flood resilient by creating water holding areas - build bogs not drains and by planting lots of trees.
But in our cities we can do our bit - it should be mandatory that every new estate built or infill housing built in Sheffield and elsewhere should have tree planting as an integral feature of their plans.
So often this just isn’t the case.
A recent example is the houses built along Cricket Inn Road in Sheffield where a number of houses have been built but not a tree in sight!
There was a real opportunity to provide a tree lined avenue along that road, but no, just another dispiriting street like so many others in the east end of our city.
I’m sure other readers can provide examples of that type.
So Sheffield Council - build flood resilent bogs on our countryside; plant more forest trees in our woods; plant more woods; plant trees alongside all new housing, especially alongside highways and STOP felling highway trees.
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